Dan's Take

Red Hat Virtualization 4: An Overview

Adding value through greater integration.

Red Hat's clearly investing in adding value to the open source KVM (kernel virtual machine) project and integrating virtual machine technology more tightly into other products to make it easier for enterprises to adopt and use the complete Red Hat software environment. Red Hat Virtualization 4 (RHV4) is the next step in that campaign.

Here's what Red Hat has to say about RHV 4:

Red Hat Virtualization 4 includes both a high-performing hypervisor (Red Hat Virtualization Host) and a web-based virtualization resource manager (Red Hat Virtualization Manager) for management of an enterprise’s virtualization infrastructure. Specifically, Red Hat Virtualization 4 introduces new and enhanced capabilities around:

  • Performance and extensibility
  • Management and automation
  • Support for OpenStack and Linux containers
  • Security and reliability
  • Centralized networking through an external, third-party API

Let's look into each of these statements a bit more closely.

  • Performance and extensibility. Red Hat has engineered a smaller hypervisor designed to simplify installation and updating.  They've added the ability for their KVM-based hypervisor to be installed using their common installer, Anaconda
  • Management and automation. RHV4 adds an "advanced system dashboard" making it easier for IT admins to get a comprehensive and detailed view of virtual machine operational information. RHV4 also includes a new storage image uploader that offers a browser-based tool to simplify uploading of virtual machine files without requiring the use of third-party tools. The product also includes finer-grained tools for controlling virtual machine migration polices that can now extend down to the VM or cluster level.
  • Support for OpenStack and Linux containers. RHV4 includes support for Linux container-based workloads and both private and hybrid OpenStack cloud deployments. That is, it supports Red Hat OpenStack Platform Neutron natively. It also supports Red Hat's Enterprise Linux Atomic Host as a small guest OS. It also allows guest agents to be run as, and report on, containers on the Atomic Host VM.
  • Security and reliability. RHV4 gets the benefit of working in the environment of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The software supports sVirt, a feature of RHEL which applies Mandatory Access Control (MAC) that enhances the security of both the virtual machine and the hypervisor. RHV4 is also integrated with Red Hat Satellite, Red Hat's system management tool. This makes it easier to manage.
Dan's Take: Red Hat Transitions
Red Hat is clearly making a number of transitions, and this product announcement demonstrates the changes. One transition is to increase its focus on integration and complete solutions, without losing focus on its open source roots.

This means offering the results of open source projects such as the KVM hypervisor, but also doing the extra work to integrate the technology into packaged solutions such as Red Hat's version of OpenStack. Some customers will focus more on the tools because they're doing their own custom integration; others will focus on complete solutions and expect Red Hat's engineering staff to do the heavy lifting. The RHV4 announcement is a good example of this transition.

Red Hat spoke to the company's participation in the KVM open source project, while also bringing out packaged solutions that integrate KVM with Red Hat Linux, along with OpenStack and other open source technology.

Another transition just beginning is Red Hat's process of dropping the word "Enterprise" from product names. I guess the company finally learned that calling each and every product "Red Hat Enterprise <insert product name here>" wasn't adding value. The company appears to have realized that their products are being used in the enterprise, so adding that word to each and every product name was superfluous.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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